Coronavirus: All football below National League to end

Non-league football

All football in England below the three divisions that make up the National League will end immediately and all results will be expunged.

It means there will be no promotion or relegation in these leagues.

The same will happen in the women’s game below the Women’s Super League and Championship level.

However, the National League, National League North and South, WSL and Women’s Championship will continue towards a conclusion “as quickly as possible”.

The Football Association said it was “reviewing all options” to complete the men’s FA Cup, which had reached the quarter-final stage, and other cup competitions.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated all sports, with fixtures suspended earlier this month.

“These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game,” said an FA statement.

“Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.

“Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided, with the integrity of the leagues in mind.”

The decision applies to steps three to seven in men’s non-league football, while all “grassroots” divisions below these tiers have also finished. It has still yet to be decided whether these seasons are to be voided.

In women’s football, tiers three to seven have also ended.

27 wins in a row for nothing

Some men’s teams, such as Jersey Bulls and Vauxhall Motors, had already secured promotion to step five of the non-league pyramid, but their promotions will now be cancelled.

Jersey Bulls had won all 27 of their matches in the Combined Counties Football League Division One and were 20 points clear at the top.

Northern Premier League Premier Division leaders South Shields FC were set for promotion to National League North with a 13-point gap to second, but will now spend another campaign in tier seven.

Chairman Geoff Thompson vented his frustration on Twitter, saying they had been “badly let down”.

“SSFC will be writing to the FA in the strongest possible terms and will seek an appeal or will take legal action,” he said.

“Whatever the outcome following this appalling decision the club will continue as before. However, there is no denying this decision has a huge financial impact.

“We have invested heavily this year in a host of areas and the loss of promotion will also affect some of our revenue assumptions for next season. My message to all our SSFC fans and sponsors is – sorry a huge disappointment and we’ve all been badly let down.”

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